>I left off on my previous post as we departed from Massimo's leather shop for lunch. Massimo recommended a nice local place near the store, but the line was too long and the prices much higher than the 2 euro paninis we saw at pasticceria/bars, so we decided to grab something on our way to Santa Croce. On our way to Santa Croce, we passed bythis hilarious juggling shop. I was quite disappointed that it was closed because I am sure that I would have found the perfect ridiculous gift for Husband inside. Oh well.

Incidentally, Florence was covered with graffit, which surprised us. Some of the graffiti was interesting, like this stencil,but most of it was just scrawl. (Rome was even worse. The subway trains were covered from top to bottom on the outside with graffiti. It reminded me a lot of New York in the 1970s. I didn't get any pictures, but it definitely was very Warriors.)

After Santa Croce, which was annoyingly covered with scaffolding due to renovations, we went to Vivoli, an AMAZING gelateria a feew blocks away. They even let you sit at a table in their cute little shop and eat your gelato for no extra charge, which is very unusual for Europe. Most places charge a euro or two if you want to eat there, even gelaterias. Needless to say, it was our favorite gelateria, although Perche No came very close. (Perche no was just a store front with no tables at all.)

We took some back streets to get from Vivoli to the museum which housed art works from Il Duomo. On the way, we passed an awesome wood shop that sold very cool toys.

After the wood shop, it started raining a bit and we had a hard time finding the stupid Duomo museum because our guidebooks neglected to mention that the actual church that the dome is attached to is called Santa Fiore, and incorrectly called the museum Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. We must have walked buy the Museo dell'Opera del Santa Fiore a zillion times before we went inside and stupidly asked them where the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo was. "You're in it," they said and stared at us as if we were severaly mentally incapacitated.

I was very excited about this museum because it was supposed to have the "finger" of St. John the Baptist. Before I got to that treasure, however, I saw some "warm up" relics. (Well, I am calling them "warm ups" since they prepped us for the big ticket items.) Unfortunately, two of those relics were behind a temporary wall erected for another exhibit (I ranted about this before, but it still infuriates me), so I did not get a good picture of the awesome jaw bone I saw when I wedged myself behind the wall. The other pictures of relics we saw came out a bit better.I have no idea what was in this reliquary because I never got far enough behind the wall to see the front of it, but it is pretty.This reliquary was not covered by a temporary wall, but I didn't really see anything inside. FDH swore she saw the outline of a fingernail, though. A security guard came by and started messing with another object, so I asked if St. John's finger was inside. The lady from the admissions desk also entered the room and we had a small discussion about relics, but they were not sure if that was the finger or not. They seemed very amused by my enthusiasm over the subject.

On the staircase leading to the second floor of the museum is an unfinished Pieta by Michelangleo. It was carved out of a bad block of marble, and a big crack appeared, plus Jesus's leg fell off, so he stopped working on it. I took a picture of the figure of Mary Magdalene in the statue.If someone can explain to me why she seems to have the face of an absorbed twin on her head, I would be very greatful. The second head totally freaks me out.

Anyway, the "finger" of St. John turned out to be on the second floor and very clearly marked among some other interesting relics. I read in Magnificent Corpses that at some point in the 15th or 16th century, the pope decreed that all churches were required to have at least one relic. As a result, dead saints were chopped up left and right and sent all over Europe. I think this reliquary is a good example of what happened when churches got more than one relic.The less special saints get no place of honor, but are thrown in with others; there's a whole bunch of different pieces from different saints displayed inside.

On the other hand, a bone from St. Giovanni (good old St. John in English) warrants its own reliquary.Finally, the "finger" of St. John:Personally, I don't believe that is St. John's finger (and I am not even sure it is a human finger), but I do think it is cool. After the relics at Museo dell'Opera del Santa Fiore, I was very much looking forward to seeing some others. I was not to be disappointed.

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